Many college football pundits have negatively critiqued the antics of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel on and off the field after his interesting 2013 debut in a 52-31 win over Rice.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, seems to appreciate all that encompasses the current Heisman winner, though.
Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times logged Flacco's comments about the dynamic redshirt sophomore who has taken Aggies nation by storm, saying Manziel is becoming his favorite player in the college game.
"I don’t know if I’ll be too popular for this...But I don’t know how I really felt about Johnny Manziel, but I feel like now everyone hates him. He’s quickly becoming my favorite player in college football," Flacco said.
There has to be some respect for how Manziel lights it up on the gridiron—something to which Flacco can certainly relate. Both players have faced scrutiny for different reasons, but when the spotlight has come on, both signal-callers have shined.
Flacco had an uneven regular season in 2012, completing just under 60 percent of his passes on 7.2 yards per attempt. Those numbers are more "Average Joe" than anything.
However, en route to guiding the Ravens to Super Bowl XLVII, Flacco elevated his level of play under new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell. Eleven touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 117.2 passer rating in four playoff games later, he was on top of the football world.
The stigma surrounding Manziel is compounded by the fact that he's only 20 years old and doesn't exactly shy away from the spotlight.
Even after the autograph fiasco that got him suspended for the first half of Saturday's game, though, he came onto the field and ignited the College Station crowd. Manziel completed six of his eight passes for 94 yards and three touchdowns in just over a quarter of work.
Flacco has often been dubbed "Joe Cool" for his calmness under pressure. Well, Manziel is a bit more of a feisty character in comparison, but he certainly seems at home making big plays on the football field.